Cllr Tom Wood has written to Minister of State, Brian Hayes in what he calls, “a last ditch attempt to have the Mansergh plan funded and implemented so that the Bolton Library can remain in Cashel, its rightful home”.
With 255,000 visitors and receipts of nearly €1 million the Rock of Cashel was the fourth most visited OPW site last year.
Cllr Wood says that when the much acclaimed Mansergh plan had not materialised last year and as news of the pending removal of the content of the Bolton Library to the Library at the University of Limerick came to his attention, he immediately contacted Minister Brian Hayes but was informed that his Department did not have the funding for the project.
“Thousands of books were bequeathed by Archbishop Bolton (1730-1744) to his successors in the See of Cashel and the clergy of the Diocese by will and meaning that they shall remain forever in Cashel. Now, with nearly half a million euro returned to the Government coffers last year from Rock of Cashel receipts and after staff wages were paid, I am calling on the Minister to reconsider the situation and as a matter of urgency commence the funding of the well intentioned Mansergh plan, prioritising areas of need. Cashel’s heritage is not just about stone and architecture and if we loose the Library we loose a valuable link in Cashel’s own heritage.”
The library, first housed in the long room at the Cashel Palace until it was transferred to its present home, the Chapter House on the Cathedral grounds in 1836, has been described as “one of the finest collections of 16th and 17th century books in Ireland”. Among the thousands of volumes, rare maps and other historical treasures are rare first editions, many beautifully illustrated, from the infancy of printing in the mid 15th century. According to Cllr Wood, Mr Martin Mansergh announced in 2010 that the OPW would take the Library in charge.